David Lammy
David Lammy spoke at the If Everything is Dead, What Comes Next? event at the Cass Business SchoolReuters

MP for Tottenham David Lammy has thrown his hat in the ring as the battle to take over from Ed Miliband as the Labour Party leader begins.

He said it was "absolutely time" for a new generation to "step up to a leadership role", according to a BBC report.

Although Lammy is bidding to become the Labour candidate for Mayor of London in 2016, he has stated that he would come forward "if colleagues come to me over the coming days and say "look, David, why don't you put your [hat in] I will look at it".

He added: "I've been in the Parliamentary Labour Party for 15 years and certainly for people like me it's absolutely time to step up into a leadership role," he said.

The politician won the Tottenham seat at the general election with 28,654 votes – an increase of 4,526 from 2010. He said: "Tottenham has given me the biggest majority for the MP for Tottenham for at least 25 years.

"It does look like this is a difficult night for the Labour Party in other parts of the country. I am pleased in London we seem to be bucking the trend."

Lammy was born in Tottenham, North London to Guyanese parents. He studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies, before going on to become the first black Briton to study at Harvard.

He practised as a barrister prior to entering parliament via a by-election in 2000, after the death of MP Bernie Grant. In 2002 he became Parliamentary undersecretary in the Department of Health. He was responsible for the introduction of the four-hour target on A&E waiting times, leading to a significant decrease in waiting times.

The 42-year-old backed David Miliband in the 2010 Labour leadership election, rather than Ed, and later turned down a post in the Shadow Cabinet offered by the new Labour leader. He explained this decision by explaining he needed to speak on a number of issues that would arise in his constituency due to the "large cuts in the public services".

Lammy told the BBC that "there were lots of names in the fray" for the Labour leadership. The front runners include Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and Chuka Umunna. Shadow defence minister Dan Jarvis is also named as a contender although he has declined to comment on leadership speculation.

As yet, no contenders have publicly come forward in the battle to succeed Ed Miliband, who resigned as leader after Labour's election defeat.

Under Labour rules, MPs require the support of 15% of the parliamentary party to be eligible to take part. Labour's National Executive Committee, the party's ruling body, is expected to set out a timetable for the contest next week.

In 2014, the party changed the rules for future contests to move to a "one member, one vote" system of party members, affiliated trade union supporters and registered supporters.

Until the Labour leadership contest takes place in the summer, Harriet Harman is serving as Labour's acting leader.